Reviews Comments: Romaticism, Not Romance

Romaticism, Not Romance
Modern works often refer to Wuthering Heights as an epic, if somewhat dark, romance however these works are misguiding you so that you'll see the allusion between the characters of Wuthering Heights and its own characters. Because of these preconceptions there are some things in the novel that will be lost on modern readers. Heathcliff isn't a hero, he's actually the worst sort of villain, it's hard to find a character whose side to take because chances are you'll hate most of them and some of the romantic relationships border on creepy but they were never meant to be loving. Why is all this happening? It's because Wuthering Heights is not a romance; it is, however, a quintessential piece of Gothic literature. When all is said and done, Wuthering Heights is a story about obsession, madness revenge and the darker side of human nature.


I think you're conflating "romance" (as in love story) with "Romantic" (as in the Romantic movement of the late 18th/early 19th centuries).
comment #11428 psycher7 17th Nov 11
Not really. When people say "I love Wuthering Heights, it's so romantic" most of them aren't referring to the Romantic movement of the late 18th/early 19th centuries. Whereas they're pretty much just talking about All Girls Want Bad Boys, I'm pretty sure one of the Brontes even wrote a story deconstructing the idea that WH was romantic. I guess it's the idea of passion and love? even in evil but I didn't really think it was that romantic either

Wuthering Heights isn't really Romantic either, Romanticism (according to wikipedia :D) was defined by sticking it to the aristocracy and sticking it to scientific rationalisation. I guess the passion part of it fits with the theme, as does the idea of wild uncontrollably human nature and it is smack bang in the right sort of time frame

EDIT: Here the Guardian says it's Britains favourite love story and opens with the line 'the passionate romance..' just to show some of the way people view the work
comment #11430 Tomwithnonumbers 17th Nov 11 (edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
The Gothic element certainly qualifies it as Romantic; it's often cited as one of the last Romantic novels before Britain yielded to Realism. It makes a good contrast to her sister Charlotte's Jane Eyre, which is more along the lines of Jane Austin Mannerism.
comment #11438 psycher7 18th Nov 11
Fair enough, although I personally don't find much to compare between Jane Eyre and Jane Austen stuff I guess I can see it :D Anyway when most people talk about WH being romantic, they just mean it in the normal sense
comment #11441 Tomwithnonumbers 18th Nov 11
I don't tend to hear it being described as "epic" much either. If it is, those people don't know what an epic is.

Wuthering Heights, for all of its dark themes, still expects the reader to find the (relatively evil) Heathcliff an attractive character - the tall, dark, brooding, violent, passionate, indominable individualist. Women seem to like that sort of thing, which is why [[janeEyre Rochester]] works along similar lines. The only Bronte sister who actually had a problem with these characterisations is Anne, deconstructing the Heathcliff/Rochester type in ''The Tenant of Wildfell Hall''.
comment #11451 maninahat 18th Nov 11

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